Updated: Jun 24, 2020
Why do I KEEP saying, NATURAL henna? Seems a bit redundant right? Isn't all henna natural? The short answer is sadly, NO!
Over the years, the majority of henna products readily available to the public are not natural henna. Let's be clear, henna is a PLANT, henna is also the word used for the art form of applying the plant topically for temporary designs.
Modernization of henna has commodified the use of henna in factories by mass producing their own adulterated paste by adding harsh ingredients like kerosine, turpentine and PPD that are not skin-safe to keep "henna" from expiring and/or to make a fast, dark stain. These cones generally make it to the United States and other countries by exporting the "henna" cones as Halal without adhering to current safety and labeling standards. In many countries these cones are illegal. The fact is, natural henna that is mixed into a paste could never make the trip from India (for example) to the United States without being frozen the entire time. Plant based henna would spoil and expire during the hot 1-3 weeks in transit.
These unnatural "henna" products are easily found sold on Amazon or Ebay, on the shelf in colorful/ holographic wrappers at Indian grocery stores or henna for hair at Sally's Beauty store with harsh metals added. ( Beauty store henna will fry treated hair!) Many people insist henna comes in many different colors, that is simply not true. The products are called "henna" to be marketed and sold as "henna" but they seldom contain real henna; natural henna always stains reddish brown**. ( Natural henna can also stain cherry red to black color on the inner palms or feet due to thicker skin and good aftercare.)
Some cones are even mixed by artists at home using additives like kerosine, turpentine or iodine to make the color darken very quickly and reach black hues. That is why I encourage every customer to be discerning and ask the artist EXACTLY what is in their mix. Some unethical artists will lie, or repackage fake henna which is why you need to use your eyes and nose. If it is staining colorful or black, it's not henna, if it smells harsh and chemical or stains instantly, it's not natural. Natural henna smells like earth and essential oils. Natural henna takes days to develop.
So, to answer the title of my blog post: Why I am an uncompromising advocate of natural henna: Here are my own personal reasons...
- I respect human safety and always want to show regard for my clients well-being by my commitment to mixing fresh, natural organic henna paste
-I want to support ethical farming practices & farmers/permaculture (viabili